Richest Philippine Athletes
Richest Filipino Athletes --they are ordinary mortals, who have achieved extraordinary feats, Filipinos who rose from obscurity to fame--some from poverty to wealth-- because of a combination of skills, discipline, perseverance, and sometimes, luck.
But whatever they are now, there is little doubt that hard work and discipline were also part of the package, and those virtues are hardly a cause to begrudge them of the perks and the wealth they currently enjoy.
Here then are the top money earners in sports, the men and women who win championships while the rest of the world watch in awe. We indulge them with praises and honors and we don't permit envy to separate them from us because we know they deserve to be rich because of the honor they give to our country.
- Manny Pacquiao --Who could be bigger than Manny Pacquiao? The answer is simple, none. Indeed, Pacquiao, who has placed the Philippines in the international sporting map with his scintillating victories over Mexican boxing legends Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales, is easily the most recognizable-and richest-athlete in this side of the world. From beer to ice cream, pain relievers to car batteries, Pacquiao is an endorser’s delight, earning millions of pesos just by eating McChicken. And of course, let’s not forget about his prize winnings and pay-per-view earnings, which could shoot up to as much as P300 million.
- Jennifer Rosales --Nicknamed J. Ro in the Ladies Professional Golf Association circuit for her colorful attires on the golf course, is one of two Filipinas who continue to mesmerize the crowd with her aggressive play. She turned pro in 2000 and has since won two LPGA titles, the last in the 2005 SBS Open. In that same year, Rosales also finished second in the 2nd Mizuno Classic. In the last three years, the 28-year-old Rosales has collected a total earning of $1.243.015, highlighted by her biggest paycheck of $514, 279 in 2005.
- Dorothy Delasin --A Fil-American born of Filipino parents, Delasin stunned the golfing world by winning the US Women’s Amateur Championship in 1999. A year after, Delasin edged Grace Park of Korea for Rookie of the Year honors in the LPGA after winning back-to-back titles (2000-2001) in the Giant Eagle Classic at the tender age of 19. The 26-year-old Delasin went on two win two titles, but her performance has notably dipped in the last three years. Still, she managed to collect a total of $571, 747 in that same period.
- Efren "Bata" Reyes --undoubtedly the world's most famous billiards player, Reyes is also the world’s biggest money-earner in professional pool. Despite failing to make it past the group stages of the 2005 World Pool Championships in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Reyes was still the world’s top-grossing cue master last year, earning $279,169 and besting the likes of Johnny Archer, Thorsten Hohmann and even current World Champion Wu Chia-Ching. Reyes competes in various tournaments worldwide. While raking in earnings in the US Tour, he is also the all-time leader in career wins in the San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour with six victories. The Magician, as he is dubbed by both fans and opponents alike, has changed the face of billiards, both in terms of popularity and commercial value.
- Marlon Manalo --Despite being a relative newcomer in the pool circuit, Manalo has established himself as one of the country’s best. Placing third in the money list in 2005 with total earnings of $199,500, Manalo is the new face of Philippine pool, and his fan base is growing as fast as the money he’s hauling in. A semifinalist in the Kaohsiung World Championships and Southeast Asian Games gold medalist, Manalo competes in the US Tour, as well as other tournaments in the 1Asian Tour. The former Snooker player has a very bright future ahead of him, and is aptly complementing the superior battery of Filipino pool players.
- Francisco Bustamante --considered to have the world’s fastest and strongest break on the pool table, is one of the pioneers of Philippine billiards. But that hasn’t diminished his quality of play. In 2005, Bustamante finished number four in the players’ money list, making $140,272 and continuing his winning ways. Perhaps one of the most remarkable stories in billiards involves Django. Bustamante, on the eve of a final 16 match in the 2002 Cardiff World Pool Championships, learned that his eight-month-old daughter died. In spite of the devastation, he pulled through and earned the world’s respect by making it all the way to the final. It is this legend that endears this multi-titled player to everyone who has seen him play.
- Frankie Miñoza --Out of sight, out of mind? Not so with Frankie Miñoza, perhaps the country’s best golfer in the men’s tour. Miñoza, who won his only RP Open back in 1998, makes his living in Japan, where he is a regular in the Japan Golf Tour. As a true-blooded Pinoy born in Bukidnon, the 47-year-old Miñoza at one time reached 52nd in the world ranking. Today, he is content in winning handsome prize money in Japan, where he is based. In the past three years, for example, Minoza earned a total of Y9, 614, 933 (US87,396.560350).
- Kenneth Duremdes, Dennis Espino and Marlou Aquino --Few jobs in the country can compare with the allure, glamour and good pay of being professional basketball players in the Philippine Basketball Association. The trio of Duremdes, Espino and Aquino are pefect examples of the wealth that being a pro basketball player can bring to a popular and marketable cager. These three receive the league’s maximum salary of P500,000 a month, a salary that most wage earners in the country receive in a decade. Add to that the free meals they get every practice and game; the practice and game allowances which run up to six digits; and the numerous bonuses such as the won game bonuses which run up to five digits; the team achievement bonuses (such as qualifying to the semifinals or the championship) which run up to six digits; and the signing bonuses of cars, house and lots or condominium units.
- Tyson Sy --Race car driving pays off well. Look at Michael Schumacher, who at a time was the world’s biggest-earning athlete, even surpassing Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods. Tyson Sy, easily the Philippines’ most promising Asian Formula 3 driver on the horizon is not yet in the league of Schumacher, but many predict he has the talent to contend with the world’s best, if ever he becomes the first Filipino driver to race in Formula 1. Even so, his sponsors, Petron XCS, Puma, San Miguel Corp., PLDT and Smart, among others, make him a hands-down athlete on this elite list.
- Sheila Mae Perez --Is there money in diving? Most of the time, the sport is not financially rewarding, but not if you’re as talented as Sheila Mae Perez, who won three gold medals and a silver in the 23rd Southeast Asian Games, which the Philippines hosted last December. A windfall of cash incentives netted Perez almost P400,000 - not bad for three days of world-class diving work.